Game of Thrones slowed things down for this week’s episode, dropping the bloodshed in exchange for an episode which was dripping with the eerie feeling of anticipation. Oathbreaker quietly assessed the state of our characters, and brought with it the unshakable feeling of trouble brewing in Westeros and beyond.
The episode began with the newly resurrected Jon Snow, as Davos looked on in disbelief. There was a sombre, darkened tone to Jon’s scenes, which, rather than depicting a triumphant return to the living, showed us the bitter reality of a man who knew he had been murdered by his own men, but had been granted a second chance at life.
We know very little about what being resurrected actually means for Jon. Is he immortal now? Or has he simply been given one last chance at life? And what does this mean for the story – surely, this must mean he has a key role in the events to come?
Jon’s revival quickly re-ignited Melisandre’s faith in the Lord of Light, and she even hinted that Jon might be the “Prince that was Promised”. If Melisandre is right, this would make Jon the reincarnation of legendary figure, Azor Ahai, destined to rise up and defeat the White Walkers. Jon Snow’s resurrection poses more questions than it answers, and we may be left to ponder its significance for some time.
After serving the traitors their just-desserts, and receiving a cheeky comment about his “pecker” from Tormund Giantsbane, we then saw Jon pass his cloak to Dolorous Edd, as he announced his watch had ended. His departure was a surprise to fans, particularly those who believed that Jon Snow’s resurrection would mean he would soon be leading the Night’s Watch and the Wildlings against the White Walkers. It’s difficult to think what Jon will do, now that he’s no longer tied to the Night’s Watch, but Melisandre isn’t likely to let him go anywhere without her.
Daenerys is one of those wonderful, yet frustrating characters, who only ever seems to move further away from her goal. However, her arrival in Vaes Dothrak does fit with a prophecy foretold to Daenerys in the books which read: “To go north, you must go south. To reach the west, you must go east. To go forward you must go back, and to touch the light you must pass beneath the shadow.” If this is true, perhaps Vaes Dothrak is exactly where Daenerys needs to be.
One of the more amusing moments of the episode came when one of the Dosh Khaleen widows told Daenerys: “You were the wife of the Great Kahl. You thought he would conquer the world with you at his side.” But Daenerys Stormborn was never going to watch Khal Drogo conquer the world whilst she stood at his side. The ambition to conquer the world was all her own. And she’s not likely to let the Dosh Khaleen stand in her way.
Meanwhile in Meereen, Varys was up to his old tricks to find information about the Sons of the Harpy. If Varys and Tyrion can succeed where Daenerys failed, and rid Meereen of the Sons of the Harpy for good, it’s going to be quite the kick in the teeth for the young Targaryen, especially when they utilise methods so unlike her own.
Samwell Tarly failed to surprise as he struggled with seasickness, whilst Gilly seemed excited about their journey across the sea. However, when Sam revealed he intended to send Gilly away to stay with his parents instead of letting her join him in the Citadel, Gilly was less than impressed, but agreed all the same.
Book-readers have to question whether this really would be the safest place for Gilly and baby Sam. Randyll Tarly was never kind to Sam, and even went as far as to threaten to kill him if he didn’t join the Night’s Watch. Though he claimed his mother is a kind woman, we have to wonder how Gilly will be treated by Lord Tarly. Perhaps when Sam retells his defeat of the White Walker, Lord Tarly will finally be proud of his son – or perhaps, like most of the Night’s Watch, he will simply laugh.
In King’s Landing, Tommen grew a bit of backbone and tried to have some stern words with the High Septon. Yet by the end of their conversation, the young King’s complaints had been quelled. Cersei meanwhile, had her eyes on the small council, in particular the ever-sassy Lady Olenna who had returned to discuss the issue of Margaery’s captivity. Next week, the events in King’s Landing seem set to climax, as the trailer (see below) hints at a potential trail-by-combat for Margaery.
Meanwhile, Arya seems to have made some progress in convincing Jaqen H’ghar that she really is no-one, and has been granted back her sight. With her kill-list still incomplete, what will she do now that she can see once again? Is her thirst for revenge greater than her desire to be no-one? Or has she truly started to become a faceless man (or woman)?
Just as one Stark has escaped the clutches of the Boltons, another fell into Ramsay’s hands this episode, thanks to Lord Umber. When we last saw Rickon and Osha, they separated from Bran to seek shelter with the Umbers, but their faith in the northern family was clearly misplaced. We can only imagine how Ramsay will use the youngest Stark boy to his advantage – or amusement.
Last but not least, I can’t end this blog post without writing about the Tower of Joy scene we had all been waiting for. Fans have been excited about this scene since its announcement, as a popular fan theory suggests that it is in the Tower of Joy where Jon Snow’s true parentage will be revealed. Unfortunately, R + L = J theorists will have to wait a little longer to find out what truly happened when Ned entered the Tower of Joy.
Another interesting realisation from the scene was the fact that Bran may be able to communicate with characters in the past. When Bran called out to the younger version of his father, we saw Ned turn, as if he had heard the call. This left us itching for Bran to return to his flashbacks, not least so we can see if he might actually be able to influence the past.
Oathbreaker brought a nice change of pace to Game of Thrones, setting the scene for the drama ahead, and providing a glimpse of the divergent paths its many characters are setting out on. The episode provided us with a belated catch-up with characters who we’ve missed so far this season, reminding us that with so many players in the game, we can never truly predict when and where we’ll next see a familiar face.
The episode may not have been as shocking as the previous two, but knowing Game of Thrones, this can only mean things are about to get crazy.
Looks like we’re going to be seeing Sansa, Ser Jorah, Littlefinger, and Margaery back next episode! *Squeals*